The Food Desert Project: Pretzel Bread for Bread Bowls

The Food Desert Project: Pretzel Bread for Bread Bowls

Happy New Year! Before we dive into today's recipe, I thought I'd follow the crowd a bit and tell you about some of the recipes I've posted this year, just in case you missed them!

My most popular post so far this year was one recipe that I used to make two different kinds of mantou, a Chinese steamed bun - one in a lovely rose shape, and one that is steamed and then fried and served with condensed milk. See Rose or Fried Mantou. If you liked that post, you should also read the post where I made delicious Char Siu Chicken Buns using the same bun recipe - it's fantastic, and easy to do (and would be great with holiday leftovers!)

Another of my favorites because we eat it all the time is Fried Elvis Oatmeal, also one of my more popular posts. It's a quick way to use up extra bananas that doesn't involve adding a lot of sugar. Another terrific breakfast recipe that isn't as much work as you'd think are our Bagels - easy to make on a lazy Sunday morning when you have some time between your first cup of coffee and everyone getting up for breakfast.

I hope you enjoy all the recipes we work on here at QTBO! Please poke around in our archives - there are lots of recipes to check out!

On this particularly frozen New Year's Eve, I decided that we needed a hearty soup in a bread bowl. To that end, I made pretzel rolls that I adapted from this recipe on A Beautiful Mess. I wanted smallish bowls, so I made 10 out of the recipe instead of the suggested 6.

For the dough
3 tbsp butter
2 c hot water (100-120 degrees F)
2 tsp brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
6 c flour
2 tsp salt

For boiling and finishing
10 c water
1/3 c baking soda
Melted butter
Coarse grain sea salt

Melt the butter and add the butter, water, brown sugar and yeast to a mixing bowl. Wait 5 minutes until the yeast starts to bubble, then, using your dough hook, mix in 3 cups of flour and 2 tsp salt. As soon as this is incorporated, add the remaining flour and knead for 10 minutes (you can also knead it by hand.)

IMG_1657Shape the dough into a ball, and put it in a bowl, covered with a damp towel, in a warm place (I put it inside my oven with the oven light on) for 1 hour, until it doubles in volume.

Punch down the dough and divide it in 10 parts like this: divide the dough in half, roll each half into a ball and flatten it. Mark a pentagram on each ball touching the sides (this is actually easier to do by sight than it is to divide a ball into 5 equal pieces - but if you want it to be exact, use a kitchen scale) IMG_1658Make a cut from each corner into the center of your dough, which divides each dough ball into 5 wedges.

IMG_1659Now, shape each section of dough into a ball by pushing it into a cup and then pinching the bottoms of the cup together. Place the balls, seam side down, on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or silpat, making sure to leave space between each ball. Cover the dough balls with a damp towel and leave them to rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes (while your oven preheats to 400 degrees - so don't use your oven this time.)

IMG_1663Bring a large pot of water (8-10 cups) to a boil and add the baking soda (for darker rolls, add a tablespoon of sugar as well.) Once your rolls are done rising, drop them in the pot face-down, 3 or 4 at a time for about 20 seconds, then roll them over and leave them for 20 more seconds.  Retrieve them with a spider or slotted spoon and put them back on the cookie sheet, seam-side down. Once all the rolls have had a bath, cut an x in the top of each roll and put the cookie sheet in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until your rolls are dark brown and delicious-looking.  While the rolls are still hot, brush with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with coarse salt.

IMG_1671To make a bread bowl, cut a cone out of the top of each roll. Use your fingers to dig some of the bread out of the bowl and slice the top off the cone.


Fill with soup and enjoy!



Filed under: Pantry cooking, Recipe

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